Prospect Ramblings: Calder Power Rankings 002

by Brayden Olafson on October 31, 2019

 

Welcome back! 

 

If this is your first time tuning in to the Calder Power Rankings, fret not – you’re only one rendition behind. Two weeks into the 2019-20 NHL campaign I kicked off a new segment that I’ve committed to publishing on a bi-weekly basis as part of the Dobber Prospects Ramblings. 

 

Only one revision in we’ve already seen some big changes as far as rookies are concerned. Some who were off to excellent starts have already begun to fade and others who began quietly have come on strong. So again, without further ado, let’s get into the meat and potatoes. 

 

1. D, Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche (-) | 1-9-10

 

Despite slowing to a more realistic pace of production over the last two weeks, the standout rookie has continued to make an impression from Colorado’s back end. Since the first edition of the power rankings, Makar has accumulated three assists over the course of five games. Over that short span, there have been two occasions where the rookie has accrued less than a minute of powerplay time, and while it’s no reason to panic, it should be noted that his average deployment on the man advantage was at one point, close to four minutes per game. 

 

2. RW, Ilya Mikheyev, Toronto Maple Leafs (+1) | 4-6-10

 

Toronto’s third-line stalwart has been a shining star of optimism among a Leafs’ dressing room that seems to be under fire from every angle these days, as much as any. The Soupman’s extremely ordinary and sustainable production pace has continued to be consistent over Toronto’s last six outings, despite essentially zero deployment on the man advantage. In Toronto’s last competition versus Washington, Mike Babcock ran Mikheyev alongside the Leaf’s big-three on a four-forward powerplay unit. It could be an anomaly, but the door hasn’t been shut on the Russian working his way into a more regular spot on the man advantage.

 

3. D, Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks (+6) | 1-6-7

 

The eldest Hughes brother has fired up his jets as of late, racking up offense at a point per game pace since October 20th. His powerplay deployment has seen a significant bump thanks to the unreliability of the Canucks other options, and he’s done well on it, with each of his last four points coming on the man advantage. It’s unlikely the team is able to find any reason to reduce this opportunity, and as such, it’s just as realistic to see him continue to climb this list.

 

4. RW, Victor Olofsson, Buffalo Sabres (-3) | 6-4-10

 

The Buffalo “sniper” has failed to find the back of the net for six consecutive games after getting off to such an unsustainable start alongside Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. Olofsson had tallied six goals in his first seven games alongside the duo but has since trailed off. Nonetheless, the 24-year-old is receiving an absurd amount of powerplay deployment from Head Coach, Ralph Krueger, leaving some hope that the rookie will stick on the team’s top line in hopes of a bounce back. 

 

5. C/RW, Martin Necas, Carolina Hurricanes (-1) | 2-4-6

 

The offense which was hot and heavy from Necas’ third line trio though the first two weeks of the NHL campaign has since slowed, resulting in a one place drop in his power ranking. The ‘Canes forward continues to drive a strong possession game, however, and the team continues to win games. His linemates haven’t gone cold yet either indicating that there is still fruit coming from the labours of his strong possession game, and certainly an opportunity to bounce back.

 

6. C, Dominik Kubalik, Chicago Blackhawks (New) | 2-2-4

 

The first newbie to the Power Rankings comes in at sixth! Dominik Kubalik (who also comes in at first on The Most Fun to Say Names list), has found himself a nice home alongside resurgent Blackhawk Brandon Saad and David Kampf. Kubalik’s offense is coming at an extremely sustainable pace, in other words, slow; however, he’s begun to drive an extremely impressive possession game on the ‘Hawks third line. Kubalik boasts a Corsi which is 8.95% greater than that of his peers in a role that wouldn’t be considered sheltered. It’s possible that, for this reason, he finds himself climbing the Hawks lineup and in turn, finding additional offense.

 

7. C, Cody Glass, Vegas Golden Knights (-1) | 2-4-6

 

As with many of the other players mentioned above, Glass has experienced a bit of a downturn in his production through the second half of October. Unfortunately, the Knights rookie doesn’t have the safety net of a strong possession game to keep him afloat should his slide continue. His typical linemates have slowly begun to migrate from the uber-talented Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty to some significantly less reliable partners in Valentin Zykov, and Cody Eakin. If there’s one positive to take from his recent performance it’s that Gerard Gallant has maintained a relatively strong trust in the rookie, maintaining, and even elevating his even-strength deployment. If Glass fails to find the boost that the team is looking for, however, things could go downhill quick.

 

8. C, Jack Hughes, New Jersey Devils (+6) | 2-3-5

 

After a painfully slow start to his first NHL campaign, Jack Hughes seems to have finally found some rhythm with the Devils. The first-overall selection has points in three consecutive games, with even-strength production coming alongside three unique sets of lines. While that can be interpreted in several ways, good or bad, it seems that Hughes has built his confidence to a level where he’s capable of driving offense on any line. While that hasn’t yet converted to a bulletproof winning strategy for the Devils, it’s not a bad place to restart from.

 

9. C, Barrett Hayton, Arizona Coyotes (New) | 1-2-3

 

After sitting out for a major portion of the month of October, Barrett Hayton has returned without missing a beat. The second new addition to the Power Rankings is still working on finding a permanent home amongst the ‘Yotes forward group, but seems to have found some early chemistry with Nick Schmaltz. His small sample size isn’t worthy of quite enough merit to vault any higher in the rankings, but sustaining his current production and 200-foot reliability certainly will be.

 

10. D, Ville Heinola, Winnipeg Jets (New) | 1-4-5

 

Despite being a rotatable healthy scratch amongst the Winnipeg Jets skeleton crew defensive corps, the Finnish defender has refused to step down, offering offense aplenty at every opportunity. Although he’s been cast in a relatively sheltered role when available, Heinola has truly given the Jets little reason to think he’s incapable of being a stop-gap in their otherwise Swiss cheese blueline. At this point, Heinola deserves a little more leash, and if he gets it he could tickle the top-5 a month from now. 

 

Honorable Mentions:

 

Denis Gurianov

Sam Lafferty

Alex Texier

Alex Nylander

Dylan Gambrell

 

With a growing sample size, the Power Rankings are becoming more exciting, welcoming new players into the fold and saying goodbye to some rookies who’ve subsided. Make sure to check back in a couple of weeks for the next revision of the Calder Trophy Power Rankings. 

 

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@olaf1393